What’s New in LA


By Estee Cohen.

We find ourselves in the season between Channukah and Purim; the time when our children have a shot at actually getting some learning done in the consistently consecutive weeks of school and Jewish businesses have a chance to catch their breath and put the pedal to the metal.

Art is a big part of learning, especially in the younger grades. Many parents are baffled about what to do with the dozen or so creations that come home every week. I personally select my favorites- especially the art that has their hilarious quotes, or pictures attached to it and store it in a Tupperware in my garage to be savored in years to come- and quietly toss the rest. There’s an ingenious app called Artkive which I’m going to start using: You take pictures of your kid’s work and you can tag and share their artistry with those who care (pretty much Bubby and Zaidy) and then you can print it all in a hard cover book. How clever is that? Artkive is the winner of a Family Choice Award and is a featured app in iTunes “Best App for Parents”.

Another great source for parents is my new Maid Easier Facebook page. I have another hobby which is not listed under my biography: finding housekeepers for people. As my Spanish is decent (not fluent!), I spend quite a bit of time helping friends find, interview and train housekeepers. So, I decided to make all of our lives easier by creating Maid Easier where we can post maids, housekeepers, cleaning ladies, and nannies that we know about and try to help each other find better help. We’ve made quite a few “matches”, come check it out- it’s free.

There’s a new, happening shul for young adults at 9041 W. Pico Blvd. in the Tomchei Shabbos building. Rabbi Yonah Bookstein encourages those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are serious about spiritual growth and want to be part of a warm, welcoming community to join the minyan at 9 AM every Shabbos. The services are Orthodox, yet inclusive and user-friendly for anyone with any background. The davening in punctuated with Divrei Torah and explanations and focuses on accepting others and increasing Ahavas Yisroel. They also have weekly programs on Kabbala, Halacha, and other Torah classes as well as Monthly Shabbos Dinners and guest speakers. The gabbais include: Josh Lebow, Chaim Perlow, and Joseph Esshaghian. Teachers include: Marcus Freed, Cheston Mizel, Batsheva Frankel, Jessica Tabak, and Rachel Bookstein. More information can be found on http://www.picoshul.org.

Speaking of happening young adults, Devorah Kroll has a new custom dessert business. She offers the usual array of tasty cupcakes and cookies, but what makes her pastries unique is the use of a printer that prints edible pictures onto cakes and cookies. How cute would a sheva bracha be with desserts featuring wedding photos on them? Devorah Kroll is available for custom orders in any quantity. To see a complete menu visit http://www.deelicioustreats.com.

I have a friend, Joanna Missry, who I crossed paths when I was searching for a new housekeeper right after I moved to LA. Joanna is an incredible listener and I found myself sharing all kinds of deep thoughts with her soon after we met- I was not surprised at all when I found out that she’s a therapist! Joanna Missry works together with the well known therapist Michelle Dadoun throughout Southern California: they have offices in Northridge, Encino, Woodland Hills, Calabasas, and Beverly Hills. Michelle has over 10 years experience working with adults and teens and specializes in anxiety and depression and Joanna has 9 years of experience and specializes in couples issues and is also certified in substance abuse issues. Their website is http://www.myLAtherapist.com.

Thankfully, there are many drug and addiction centers available for adults who need it, however there are very few centers available in the entire United States for teens who are struggling with similar issues. Mendi Baron is a family therapist who has recently opened a Dual Diagnosis Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for teens ages 13-18 years old. It’s called “Destinations to Recovery” or simply Destinations. Destinations is located in Topanga Canyon, California about 30 minutes from Malibu and 40 minutes from Los Angeles. They have a robust therapy program, beautiful grounds, and an on-site school so students in recovery can keep up with their studies. Destinations does not have a religious affiliation, but the director of the program, Mendi Baron is an Orthodox Jew and can offer the necessary accommodations for Jewish clients including Kosher food, the ability to observe Shabbos, and time and space to daven. Their website is http://www.destinationstorecovery.com, and Mr. Baron can be reached at (310) 987-8298 or at mbaron@dtrtc.com

There’s an incredible organization called Misameach which focuses on brightening the days of those who are bed-bound. Expectant mothers on bed rest, patients post surgery, and those who are temporarily sick or chronically ill need something to keep them entertained without sacrificing their standards. Misameach offers a very large variety of media, as well as occasional live entertainment including visits from singers, clowns, and Jewish celebrities. The Los Angeles branch of Misameach is the fourth branch of the organization, the others are in Boston, Lakewood, and North Carolina. For more information or to get involved see http://www.misameach.org.

As usual, we’re always looking for new businesses, shuls, schools, restaurants or happenings for this monthly article. Please send your news to estee@nicktrading.com to be featured in the next article.